How to Make a Paper Pinwheel

For Pride Month, I painted one of the brightest paintings I think I’ve ever done. These pinwheels are so fun and can be customized with your own personal flair. They go well with the noisemakers that I originally made for Purim. Make a handful of these festive paper pinwheels to attach to your backpack, or bicycle, and hand them out wherever you go. Sharpen the tip of the pencil and write with it at work or school to brighten up the place.


images of supplies needed to make a paper pinwheel: print out of template, scissors, glue stick, two pencils, and straight pins with decorative heads
  • Print out the pinwheel artwork PDF. Print two copies and reverse the folds to make opposite colors.
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • New pencils with erasers
  • Straight pins with decorative heads
  • OPTIONAL: Elmer’s or other glue that sticks to the pencil, clothespins to hold pieces together while they dry


  1. Cut out the artwork on the black perimeter line. Cut out one center medallion and six long strips. Fold between the two halves of the art and score. Glue the two halves together so you end up with a square double-sided artwork. Use the pin to poke holes on the black dots – five on the art and one in the center of the center medallion. Wiggle the pin around in the center of the art to enlarge the hole so that it spins freely. Cut the diagonal black lines – note that they don’t go all the way across.
  2. Take one point of the pinwheel that has a black dot on it and bend it over towards the center. Don’t crease it. Put some glue on the back of the next point that has a black dot on it and put it on top, aligning the holes with the pin. Repeat with the two remaining points until you have a pinwheel shape, then poke the pin through the back center hole. You can poke the pin into the eraser or clip it together until it dries.image showing in 3 steps how to fold a colorful pinwheel out of printed paper
  3. Wrap four strips around the pencil to curl spirals. Glue one end of a spiral behind a point and the other at the center. Glue the medallion at the center to cover up all the ends. Poke the pin through all the center holes to make sure everything is still aligned.
  4. Spiral a strip around the pencil. You may need to use a stronger glue or tape to get it to stick to the pencil paint. Cut the last strip in half. Apply glue to the back of it and roll it up tightly to make a bead.
  5. Thread the bead on the pin as a spacer between the pencil eraser and the back of the pinwheel so that it can spin without touching the pencil.
images of two colorful pinwheels handmade with paper and pencils

Cleo Papanikolas is a painter, author, and educator. Her daily practice classes on Creativebug are Painting Repeat Patterns By Hand: A Daily Practice and Learn to Paint with Gouache: A Daily Practice in Questions and Answers . You can find more of her printable crafts on her website, and while you are there, take a look at her Patreon scarf club.